2020-03-16 | Time to read: 5 minutes
Author: Simagin Andrey
Walk me through your interpretations of a few key algo updates and tools in Google's arsenel: rankbrain, the "medic" update, BERT, and the most recent core updates
- RankBrain helps Google understand how users are engaging with SERPs and the results within it, specifically surrounding their intent behind searches.
High level: how does UX influence SEO, if at all?
- Poor UX is felt in its impact: poor on-site engagement, high bounce rates, low time on site, etc. It adds friction to the search experience.
- Good UX facilitates the user's goal, whatever that may be. Effective UX means sites are easy to navigate, content is easy to consume, and answers are easy to find.
What metrics do you use to evaluate SEO success?
- Organic traffic changes.
- Average ranking over time.
- Improvements in major on-site metrics.
- Leads generated organically (local SEO), page goals met organically ("regular" SEO).
How does national SEO differ vs. local SEO vs. YouTube SEO?
- National SEO: links are more important; proximity is less of a factor; on-site metrics matter more; content is king.
- Local SEO: proximity matters a great deal, citations still sort of matter, reviews are very important; Google My Business (all of it).
- YouTube SEO: like/dislike ratio, engagement after publishing, video transcription/description, user engagement statistics.
How do you handle a website recently impacted by an algorithmic update or a manual action?
- Wait; give the change time to "normalize" a bit.
- Review sites that benefitted from the algo update – what are they doing better?
- Make a hypothesis based on industry consensus (if you don't have a large data set) or data gleaned from your own portfolio.
- Incremental change based on hypothesis, measuring the impact of each change over an appreciable data set (whether its time or traffic).
- Review backlink profile and see if there are any links in there that need to be removed or disavowed (I still do this).
How do you determine whether or not a backlink is worth getting?
- Topical relevance.
- The brand/value of the website in question.
- Social engagement – do people actually care about this site/brand?
- Link footprint – where are they getting their links?
Walk me through how you direct related disciplines, specifically graphics, content, and dev
- Graphics: provide accurate scopes/briefs for assets called out.
- Content: ensure content meets standards for quality, depth, and effective use of basic "writing for the web 101" stuff.
- Dev: provide priorities re: implementation, ensure on-site basics are covered, ensure that all changes improve or do not degrade on-site performance; ensure mobile experience is badass.
Please explain SEO to me as if I were a prospective client
- SEO is not a black box where money goes in one end, a bunch of who-knows-what happens, and then customers come out the other end; it's about understanding what a user is searching for and providing an experience that helps them meet their goals.
- SEO is about helping Google understand that the above point is what you're doing; best accomplished via effective content.
- A major portion of SEO is about building the popularity of your website over time, obtaining links (votes) from authority sites and sites that matter in your space.
Why would someone invest in SEO vs. other mediums, such as Google or Facebook Ads?
- For SMB clients, you don't; don't talk to me about SEO until you have some form of performance marketing play in place; PPC pays for SEO, SEO pays your mortgage.
- For content sites, SEO helps capture long-tail keywords and generate natural backlinks (which in turn help the whole site holistically).
How do you report on SEO, both internally and to clients?
- A simple ranking report calling out movement for target keywords, changes to organic traffic, and its impacts to the client business...
- ...with a video breaking it all down. Short, sweet, and accurate.
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